Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

IFALPA: Activities at ICAO

Several Panels and Working Groups met during October. The Third Meeting of the Air Traffic Management Requirements and Performance Panel (ATMRPP/3) met for two weeks in October, the first week concentrated on Trajectory Based Operations (TBO), firstly, with improving the various scenarios where TBO could be used and then secondly, reviewing the various comments from other ICAO Panels on the TBO Concept Document. There is still a great deal of misunderstanding from other Panels on this future concept and there will be a need for a great deal of education for all airspace users to be comfortable in this kind of operation.

The second week dealt primarily with flight and flow information for a collaborative environment (FF-ICE) and at the end of the meeting with Air Ground System Wide Information Management (SWIM); MET considerations, and Inter-panel coordination.   

For FF-ICE - for all IFALPA technical committees is the classification group which contains aircraft performance information that is included within the aircraft trajectory. Contained information describes the performance of the aircraft along trajectory elements. A flight possesses a capability if both the aircraft and flight crew possess the same capability and required systems are operable at the level of performance required. The categories covered are:

  • Wake turbulence performance
  • Communications performance
  • Navigation performance
  • Surveillance performance
  • Safety net performance
  • Noise performance
  • Emissions performance

The work of this panel is still very conceptual and is evolving. Their primary focus is evolving the ATM toward a Trajectory Based Operation model, which is very complex with many players. The limitations are driven by economics primarily and that is recognized but not addressed. The technical aspects are being identified more clearly through research and studies. However, the pilots’ viewpoint is cockpit centric and must be addressed in future definition of the concepts. These considerations for the crews must consider the Human/Machine interfaces.

The Fourth Meeting of the Airborne Surveillance Working Group (AIRB WG/4) took place during the second week of October. This group is looking at the development of new technologies and procedures and it will be important to ensure that current safety standards are met and that in dealing with separation standards basic requirements such as wake turbulence parameters are taken into consideration. They continue to update the Manual on Airborne Surveillance Applications and it is important to note that a definition of surveillance needs to be developed from a pilot perspective, the current definitions are from an ATS perspective. There will need to be close attention to any provisions developed within this group.

The Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) discussed more than 50 proposals during their eight day meeting in mid-October. Two of the most far reaching proposals would have banned portable electronic devices in passenger checked baggage (they would still be allowed in the cabin) as recommended by an interdisciplinary Cargo Safety Group that was convened this summer by the ICAO Council.

These measures are still a work in progress. A proposal to require lithium battery power banks to be removed from checked baggage and carried in the cabin, (if they are an unmovable part of the luggage, the entire bag will have to be carried in the cabin) was approved. A proposal to allow very small shipments of lithium batteries on passenger aircraft with stringent packaging safeguards to protect against thermal runaways internal to and fires that start external to the shipment was adopted with IFALPA’s concurrence. Under the original proposal, only the state of origin of the shipment and the state of the operator (which could be the same entity) had to approve the transport. IFALPA was successful in adding the requirement of the approval of the state of destination, so at least two states will have to be approve these shipments. A proposal to allow large shipping containers (like those commonly seen on large ocean going vessels) filled with lithium batteries on all-cargo aircraft under special approvals was not approved due to objections by IFALPA and ICCAIA (representing the aircraft manufacturers).

The last days of October saw the start of the ninth meeting of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Panel (RPASP/9). Work continues to finalise provisions in ICAO documentation underlining how the Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA) will be integrated into the airspace. The provisions for Licensing the Remote Pilot are now in the final stages of the amendment process within ICAO. This will be the first step in a long journey to ensure integration and not accommodation of the RPA. The IFALPA Position Paper on this has been recognised and the IFALPA representatives are working in several of the sub groups to ensure the pilot voice is heard.

IFALPA Monthly Update: View here.

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